A people mover is a fully-automated, grade-separated rail transit system. The term is generally used only to describe elevated single-rack loops serving small areas such as airports or theme parks, but is sometimes applied to considerably more complex automated systems. Simple back-and-forth shuttles are referred to as "hectos", short for hectometric, meaning designed for a few hundred meters.
The term "people mover" was coined by Walt Disney, when he and his Imagineers were working on the new 1967 Tomorrowland at Disneyland, while thinking of a working title for a new attraction. According to Imagineer Bob Gurr, the name got stuck, and it was no longer a working title.
The attraction's vehicles were always in motion, and were accessible by a large turntable inside the station. The PeopleMover was presented by Goodyear. The trains were not powered by motors within themselves, but rather by rotating Goodyear tires embedded in the track, which the trains would pass over every nine feet. The cars were all red, blue, yellow, and green with white roofs until they were repainted all white with colored stripes sometime during 1987. In 1977, the SuperSpeed Tunnel was added to the PeopleMover. Race cars were projected on the walls all around the trains. In 1982, the scenes were changed to clips from Tron's light cycle race scene, and the tunnel was renamed Tron SuperSpeed Tunnel. The PeopleMover closed in August 1995, and was replaced by Rocket Rods in 1998. The PeopleMover, officially the PeopleMover Thru the World of Tron from 1982-1995, remains open at the Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Florida as Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Although the vehicles and the means of propulsion are different, the California and Florida attractions shared the same name and provided a similar experience.
The PeopleMover/Rocket Rods tracks remained untouched until 2005, when the tracks were painted blue and silver for Tomorrowland's new paint scheme. Although many trees have taken over the tracks in the Autopia area, some have been recently cut away from the tracks. Above the star tunnel scene in the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters attraction a "bridge" extends over the tunnel, with a wall on the bridge with two planets painted on it. On April 26, 2005, the Disneyland insider site reported that if the first few weeks of the Disneyland 50th Anniversary goes well, Disney will greenlight the plans for an updated PeopleMover. While there hasn't been any update on the project as of yet, many fans still speculate the attraction will be the next new attraction for Tomorrowland after the "Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage" opens in 2007.
If you still want to take a ride on a PeopleMover, board the vehicle in Florida's Walt Disney World for a relaxing journey through Tomorrowland's indoor attractions and above its outdoor attractions. But Walt Disney World is not the only place to enjoy the ride on PeopleMover. The best way to navigate downtown Detroit is on board the Detroit PeopleMover. It will quickly, easily and safely connect to all the excitement.
The colorful shops, arts, historic landmarks, cozy restaurants and architectural delights - all within walking distance of the 13 PeopleMover stations.